Saturday, October 17, 2015

Tremors 5: Bloodlines

  The Tremors movies and I go way back, like way way back. Some of my first experiences with the concept of creature feature movies was with Tremors. I couldn't have been older than... seven. Or eight. These movies were fun and scary, humorous and intense. It's been the crux of the franchise as much as Michael Gross has. On those basic concepts Tremors 5 does not fail, in fact it actually does rather well. It cuts back on the comedy, and goes back to basics... somewhat. This Tremors movie takes place in South Africa, where franchise stalwart Burt Gummer has been enlisted to help with an outbreak of Assblasters. If you don't know what Assblasters are... you got some catching up to do.

  Not that it'd be necessary in the slightest. See, not only does Tremors 5 neatly explain everything for newcomers, it also doesn't feature any of the creatures fans are familiar with. Sure, it might have Graboids and Assblasters- but they're a different breed. These redesigned creatures are bigger and badder, but you'll have to forgive me for not being all that impressed. I sorely missed the old creatures. I get what they were doing here, but since one of the recurring themes of the movie is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", it strikes me as funny that they did exactly that with the Graboids. We have new Graboids here with none of the visual cohesiveness and scary simplicity that the original ones did. They look... like a mess.

  As a kid, the Graboids were right up there for me with the Alien and the Predator as some of the coolest looking movie creatures out there. That opinion hasn't wavered for me despite getting older. But Tremors 5 doesn't do any justice to them at all, they just look more complicated, bulkier, and uglier. Not to mention they're also mostly CGI. I really miss the practical creature effects of the other movies. Even when the franchise used CGI in the past, you could tell it was only because they really had to, budget-wise. I don't doubt that was the case here, but it just... doesn't gel with me for some reason. It doesn't feel like CGI from 2015.

  It feels like top of the line CGI from 2005. Like the kind of CGI they just couldn't afford back when the third one was getting made. Granted, there were some scenes that I wasn't sure if I was looking as a practical effect or CGI, or a blend of both, but those moments were fleeting. Thankfully the rest of the movie is adequate enough that I can look past the shitty-looking Graboids and just appreciate everything else. Burt's back! Again! Michael Gross hasn't missed a beat, and if anything Burt is crankier than ever, maybe a bit nuttier too. Setting the movie in South Africa was a good move in my opinion. It gave us a fresh setting, with new faces, but with a familiar landscape.

  When the movie focuses on the South African protagonists, there's a bit of energy to the flick. Some new life breathed into it. While Burt and his new sidekick are fun to watch, it's just rather familiar. All things considered, the movie felt like it was over a bit quick, but what stuck with me was some of the imagery. It's very likely that this is the best looking Tremors movie next to the first one. Some of the cinematography here is great. Some of the action scenes have these really neat moments in them that just... click, and they look so cool. I can't say Tremors 5 isn't without some really fun moments and some exceptionally cool bits, but more than feel like a full entry into the franchise, it feels like a side-step.

  The movie isn't as scary as I would've liked, but it's not like the franchise has been all that scary since at least the second one. It's more of an action-comedy blend now. It's whatever though, there's some gnarly moments with blood spray and severed limbs. It wouldn't be Tremors without that stuff. I'm having a hard time placing this movie because it's not really fair to go back and compare it to the original, or the second one. It's better than the third, but not better than the fourth. It lacks the tension and suspense that the best moments in the franchise had, but thankfully it sidesteps a lot of the juvenille humor that some of the sequels had... mostly.

  Unfortunately, there is one scene in here I just couldn't stand. It was just a whole barrage of gags revolving around piss. Ew. Not funny or needed. Did I need to see Burt pee in a cup, and then dump it on himself? No. Or pee some more and then drink it? No. Did I then need to see a Lion pee on him? No. I dunno what the writer was smoking at this point that he felt so many consecutive piss jokes would be funny, but... he should've been fed to a Graboid. Also, why is Jaime Kennedy here? I actually forgot who he was until I looked him up. The only movie he ever really headlined was the abysmal Son of the Mask. Who thought it'd be a good idea to cast him? He's hard to look at and rather obnoxious to boot. The Tremors movies have never been short on plucky sidekicks, but Kennedy isn't plucky, he's just... awkward and out of place. Whatever. Thankfully he's not absolutely horrible, but he's not a highlight of the movie either.

  Fans won't mind this breezy little romp, and newcomers might appreciate this as a neat little creature flick- but instead of Tremors 5, this simply feels like Burt Gummer 5. I enjoyed it for what it was, but I probably won't be thinking about it for too much longer. I recommend it if you have Netflix, but I wouldn't pay any extra to see it. I'd see it again if I ever did a Tremors marathon. I don't consider it to be a bad movie, it was fun and little else. Sometimes that's enough.

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